© 2013 A Beer Glass Collector

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© 2013 A Beer Glass Collector

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478 City of Glass, St. Helens.

The Ravenhead Glass Company was founded in 1842.  They made bottles, jars, glass tableware and, of course, beer glasses until 2001. In 1992 Ravenhead became a wholly owned subsidiary of SA Durobor NV of Belgium, one of Europe’s largest glassware manufacturers. Unfortunately, after some dubious business practices by the parent company, Ravenhead went into receivership after 159 years of continuous production.  This was a devastating blow to the town with the resulting unemployment and destruction of the employees’ pensions.

I have heard from Malcolm Price that a better deal has been agreed for the employees and pension holders. Which is good news.

The first two glasses were blown-moulded, probably by the Westlake machines which Ravenhead bought from Owens of Illinois to produce stem wine glasses. Consequently, for the period of manufacture - probably the late 40’s – the glass is exceptionally thin.

This is the tulip design by Alex Hardie Williamson who was consultant designer from 1947. It’s such an elegant design that it is still in production today.

The fluted tankard was out of fashion by the late 60’s. Malcolm Price tells me that he found a crateful of these glasses gathering dust in a corner of the warehouse in the mid 90’s and sent them to the BBC for use in period drama

The classic dimple mug is out of fashion today apart from, perhaps, some real ale folk. Slightly different designs can be found from different manufacturers

The conical glass was simple in design and preferred by people who didn’t like a handle. This shape, however, had a problem!

The Aberdeen pressed tumbler based on the design of a whisky glass.

The Nonik glass was produced to avoid the problem of the conical glass. This problem was that on the assembly line and when picked up in clumps by bar staff, the contact often caused the rim to break. The glass makers’ term for the breakage is ‘nick’. Therefore, the inclusion of a bulge below the rim both strengthened the glass and avoided this problem. So the no-nick glass or Nonik (geddit?) was born.

This is from the Barmaster range, designed by John Clappison in the late 70’s.

Shortly before the curtain came down on Ravenhead they went for the current option of self-verification and so the St. Helens Borough of # 478 was replaced by # 2037. I found this battered little gem in a charity shop in Heaton Moor Stockport in March 2008.